Many of life’s greatest lessons come from trying something, getting it wrong, and then trying something else. But some kids are so afraid of being wrong that they are unable to learn from their mistakes. Encouraging kids to make mistakes and showing them how to learn from them gives them an invaluable skill. In this edition of the LearningWorks for Kids Beyond Games series we suggest strategies that can help a child who doesn’t learn from mistakes.
It’s OK to make mistakes. A child who gives up easily because they are afraid of making mistakes will be more likely to try again if his parents can accept mistakes without criticism. Ask your child what he can learn from a particular mistake. Remind him that nobody is perfect and teach him not to let his striving for perfection get in the way of getting good at something. Encourage a child by prompting him to think about the end goal, rather than the particulars of the process.
Model and teach positive self-talk. Many youngsters believe that their failures are due either to forces outside their control or to their lack of ability. Some children feel that they cannot succeed no matter how hard they try. Help a child understand that his efforts pay off and to see how important it is to have a positive mindset. Statements like, “I didn’t win first prize at the art show this year but I’m sure I’ll do better next time if I keep practicing and take an art class this summer,” can help him understand that his success is due to using effective strategies and to sustaining his effort. Modeling “stick-to-it-iveness” can show him that remaining persistent and optimistic about his abilities can reap real rewards.
Accidentally-on-purpose. Being late to take a child to school because you have misplaced the car keys could let you model the positive aspects of making mistakes. Tell him that you can’t find the keys, acknowledge the mistake, but then mention that you will have a designated place to put the keys from now on so this does not happen again.[cjphs_content_placeholder id=”73538″ random=”no” ]
The most important component of perseverance revolves around the misconception that making a mistake is bad. Making mistakes is a problem only when one chooses not to learn from them. Teach your child that his mistakes at school are a chance for him to learn so that he knows what he does and does not understand. Hearing others being able to admit their mistakes will help him to be able to do so himself.
Complementing these core strategies with the use of apps, websites, and other technologies often leads to the best solutions to improve a child’s ability for thinking positively. Some of the best tech tools to help a child who doesn’t learn from mistakes include:
Academics is a necessary area in which to help kids learn from their mistakes. Miss Spell’s Class is an app designed to help kids become better spellers, presenting them with correctly and incorrectly spelled words for them to choose between and showing them their mistakes at the end of each round. Users of Miss Spell’s Class must exercise flexibility and focus, two skills necessary for overcoming obstacles and making the most of getting past being wrong and working to get it right.
It is also important for kids to learn from the mistakes they make while participating in hobbies. Amazing Alex is the perfect game to help them grasp that concept, as they help Alex make Rube Goldberg type devices in his garage. Players are awarded star ratings depending on how efficient and accurate they are while helping Alex complete his contraptions, and given endless opportunities to perfect their scores.
If kids need help understanding what goes in to making and completing personal goals, Tiny Rabbit – Chasing Aurora is an excellent game for them to play. Not only does the story revolve around a rabbit who successfully makes a rocket through repeated trial-and-error, but the perseverance skills of flexibility and focus will constantly be challenged as they assist in rabbit’s visually and mentally stimulating journey through space.
Featured image: Flickr user Catherine